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Allergy. 1995 Mar;50(3):257-61.

Allergic reactions associated with airborne fish particles in IgE-mediated fish hypersensitive patients.

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Allergy Service, La Paz Children's Hospital, Madrid, Spain.


We evaluated the clinical characteristics found in 21 children who showed allergic reactions upon incidental inhalation of fish odors or fumes, from 197 diagnosed with IgE-mediated fish hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions to fish via ingestion began in most patients (86%) within the first 24 months of life. The vast majority (19/21) of patients showed cutaneous symptoms, either alone or, less frequently, associated with other clinical manifestations. Hake and flounder were the species of fish most frequently implicated in eliciting clinical manifestations upon ingestion. After diagnosis, all these patients were placed on a strict fish-avoidance diet. During this period of avoidance, patients reported allergic reactions (mean age 7 years) after incidental exposure to airborne fish odors or fumes. Clinical manifestations through inhalation were respiratory (mainly wheezing) in 12 patients and cutaneous (mainly urticaria) in nine patients. Nineteen of 21 patients reported three or more episodes upon exposure to fish aerosols; in most cases, these episodes occurred at home when other people were eating fish. In conclusion, incidental inhalation of fish odors or fumes could play an important role in accidental and unknown encounters with fish in children on fish-avoidance diets for fish IgE-mediated hypersensitivity. Such exposures could elicit clinical symptoms and could have some effect in delaying the development of tolerance.

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